June 25, 2016

Shoebox Stockpile Saturday ~ 6/25/2016

I placed my first order from U.S.Toy this week.  Here's what I got:
That's just the overview, I plan to post photos of the individual items with reviews.

I also had some ECB from CVS from previous shoebox purchases that I needed to use up before they expired, so I picked up this t-shirt, $2.50-nice soft fabric, hopefully they'll still have some left if/when they go on clearance.

Spent from shoebox packing budget: $15.93

Spent from gift cards earned or won online: $52.06

Added to stockpile:
  • 1 T-shirt
  • 1 foldable Nylon Kite w/Pouch
  • 6 jump ropes
  • 5 dozen "activity packs"
  • 4 dozen pen necklaces
  • 8 dozen pencils
  • 4 dozen pencil sharpeners
  • 7 dozen stencils/rulers/etc
  • 1 dozen mind teasers
  • 1 dozen Mini Metallic Maracas
  • 1 dozen wave maze puzzles
  • 1 dozen prisms
  • 1 dozen kazoos
  • 4 dozen plastic tops
  • 5 dozen blowouts
  • 2 dozen stuffed snowmen

Happy Packing!

June 18, 2016

Shoebox Stockpile Saturday ~ 6/18/2016

Well, I was on vacation with just one carry-on for 10 days, so I didn't have room to pick up anything, but this week was a different story!

Started out by coming home to unpack a box of donations from Suzanne from SewDelightful!  It had a fun variety of things-handmade dresses, toys, school supplies, etc.  Always fun when others come along side with our packing!

My sister, who is a church secretary, brought these home for us to use in shoeboxes, they seem to have been a promotional item that was donated to our church, when our church didn't end up using them.  Dozens of golf towels!!  They're nice sized, yet don't take up too much room. They seem sturdy, and have a built in brad to hang from nail, trig, etc. If you have connections to golf things, it might be something to ask for-overstocks of old, yet unused, promotional golf towels.

My sister and I had to run some errands today, and I scored a couple things for shoeboxes:
This flamingo was PERFECT as my mom is making a flamingo themed box, plus it was Gund brand which means it should really last well-that was what my favorite stuffed animal was as a child for over a decade, and he held up just fine!

And then at a thrift store I found a somewhat ratty tin, but it had these 7 wooden peg  toys-6 never opened, 1 like new for $2 total!!  So it works out to like $0.30 a piece-similar, but not as nice quality ones are sold at Dollar stores for $1 a piece, this is why I love shopping year-round everywhere for boxes-you get nicer items for less money!

Spent from shoebox packing budget: $3.21

Spent from gift cards earned or won online: $0

Added to stockpile:
  • 7 dresses
  • 60 pencils
  • 70 pens
  • 9 wooden crafts
  • 3 stuffed animals
  • 6 whistles
  • 7 misc toys
  • 14 sunglasses
  • 7 peg games 
  • Plus dozens of
    • Pieces of jewelry
    • Baseball cards
    • Golf towels

Happy Packing!

May 28, 2016

Shoebox Stockpile Saturday ~ 5/28/2016

I was happy to be able to get a good deal on these toothbrushes at CVS, I like sending nice, name brand toothbrushes when I get the chance, hoping they'll clean better if the child doesn't have toothpaste as well as maybe lasting longer-I think these qualify-they were originally $5.99!  After sales, coupons, and ECBs, I got them for $0.24 a piece before tax (you can see more about deal shopping at my other blog SimplyCVS).

Oriental Trading Company had free shipping on any order, so I picked up a few things that were on clearance.  I love those colorful and sturdy desk plates, I'd gotten some for the older boxes, and these were so cute,  and only $0.13 a piece and even if they can't read, it has fun pictures.   Also some rugby ducks for only $0.11 a piece.  I was also glad to find some supplies for rubber band bracelets-I got a long to send in one of my 10-14 girl boxes, but wanted extra to send, so she could make more/it'd be useful longer!

I went back to Mighty Dollar to pick up supplies for more fishing kits and a couple more frog games. I found a ring toss/horseshoe game and a 15 pack of combs.  I was excited as I was planning on 10 packs for a dollar and this was 15, made in America for $1, pretty good quality.

Spent from shoebox packing budget: $8.54

Spent from gift cards earned or won online: $9.48

Added to stockpile:
  • 2 toothbrushes
  • 24 desk plates
  • 12 rubber ducks
  • an extra pack of hooks and bands for a rubber band bracelet loom I got for a 10-14 girl box.
  • 2 games
  • 15 combs
  • 1 set horseshoes and ring toss games
  • fishing hooks and floats for fishing kits

Happy Packing!

May 21, 2016

Shoebox Stockpile Saturday ~ 5/21/2016

I did some shopping this week at dollar/deal stores, and found some good things.  I try to be picky about what I buy at dollar stores, looking for sturdy items, especially for items that might have originally been made for another store at a higher price point, and has been sent there as it's last year's, overstock, or whatever.

Had good success at Mighty Dollar while out running errands early in the week.  Nice school math sets (normally sell for $1.99-$4.99), a fun metal whistle some toothbrush covers (which don't fit/cover all the toothbrushes I've been getting at CVS) and some colorful & sturdy jacks which I'll split into 2 boxes.

On Friday my sister and I ran some errands and got to hit a few stores for shoebox stuff.  At Mighty Dollar I got my dad three of the Chess/Checkers combo game for his 10-14 boy boxes, I'd taken a photo when I was there earlier, and he had thought a few would be good for his boxes.  I'd also seen some fishing hooks and floats and asked him if he'd like to make some fishing kits like on Clip with Purpose for the 10-14 boy boxes, too.  He was interested, so I got a bag of floats/bobbers, there were a few different hooks to choose from so my sister and I picked out a few, weren't really sure what we were doing, have fished before, but not had much hands on with the hooks.  I was wondering on the quality, the floats said Walmart, but I didn't know about the rest so did some Googling of the brands-Zoom seems to be sold at stores like Walmart and the Eagle Claw I saw at Base ProShop.  My dad remembered the Eagle Claw brand from when he was a kid, he liked it and we decided to get the same amount again next time I'm able to go, then we'll be able to make 10 kits with two floats and 5 hooks each, just need to pck up some fishing line.. I also got another of metal whistles.  

Found these fun gliders at Dollar Tree for the 10-14 boy boxes.

At a local mom and pop store I got some learning to write composition books for the 2-4 boxes, a Backgammon game, I splurged on the pencil sharpener as it reminded me of the hand crank one we had when I was a kid.  I also had been wanting to put in Spirograph like tools in my 10-14 girl boxes, and found these three for $0.59 each-they're a little big with the fish part, but should be a fun addition!

Spent from shoebox packing budget: $30.70

Added to stockpile:
  • 6 school/math kits
  • 2 whistles
  • 4 toothbrush caps
  • 1 Jacks game
  • 3 checkers/chess set games
  • 10 bobbers and 25 fising hooks
  • 2 wooden gliders
  • 10 composition books
  • 1 big pencil sharpener
  • 3 "Spirograph"s

Happy Packing!

May 14, 2016

Shoebox Stockpile Saturday ~ 5/14/2016

CVS had candy free after ECBs this week, and I was thankful to find a kind that was okay to send in shoeboxes and didn't expire until June 2017, so it'll be fine to send this year (which if you haven't heard, this is the last year for sending candy from the USA.)

Since my CVS shopping went quickly (in spite of getting $35 worth of items free) I had time to go check out a Mighty Dollar store, they seem to have new things most times I go, and I wasn't disappointed this time!

I split the jacks into two sets, so 50  cents for a game-not bad!  Also these are the same math sets that CVS was selling for $4.99 last year, so like 80% off!!  I think I'm going to try to get a few more, my dad really likes them for the boxes he packs for 10-14 boys, and this story really reinforced that..

Spent from shoebox packing budget: $3.20

Spent from gift cards earned or won online: $0.14

Added to stockpile:
  • 2 math sets
  • 2 Jacks sets
  • 1 bag candy
Happy Packing!

May 10, 2016

Earning Free Gift Cards thru Swagbucks 101 ~ Part Three: More Free & Easy

Swagbucks has helped us pack many shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child with free gift cards.  It is possible to earn a few or many dollars each month thru online activities.  They offer dozens of different major retailers' gift cards including:  Walmart, Ebay, Kmart, Amazon and Target.  I am not familiar with what they offer outside the US, but Swagbucks  is available in these Countries:  US, UK, Canada, Australia, Ireland.  We'd posted about Swagbucks a couple weeks ago, and some of you had asked for more info on how we make our "bucks" (points), so here's the third of a series of "how to's".

As you can see from the chart above there are dozens of ways to earn at Swagbucks.  I will be sharing them all in detail now and in future posts for those of you interested in finding a simple way to earn free gift cards to fill your shoe boxes. 

For doing online activities you earn points called SB.  One SB equals 1 cent.  Swagbucks has gift cards as low as $3.00.  They do offer $25.00 gift cards that can be purchased for just 2200 SB’s – if you save up for these, one SB will equal more than a penny.

Category #4 Free & Easy Requiring A Little More Time than #'s 1 & 2: 
  • Surveys
    • Third party survey sites run the surveys.  "Gold surveys" offer surveys chosen for your demographic.  If you do not qualify for a survey you will receive one SB.
    • Earnings:  From 50 SBs & up to a few hundred per survey.
    • Find link to gold surveys as "Answer" in left side bar on Swagbucks homepage.  There are often some on the homepage, too, under "Answer Surveys & Earn."
    • Time:  From a couple of minutes to 30 or more minutes.  The longer the survey the greater the reward.  Sarah has done several just a few minutes long and received 50 to 100 SBs.
  • Free Special Offers ... found on homepage or thru link "discover" in sidebar of homepage.  Go thru the several links in the sidebar on the discover page -- there are several different third party companies offering rewards.  Some of the activities include the following.

    • One of my favorite
      sponsored video series.

      Always look for this image on the
      homepage (not always available).
      You must click on the 

      "interactive ad", watch it and
       then click 
      "I'm done" link at top.

    • Click thru Slide Show Offers or Read Articles
      • There are usually lots of these...often under the "Peanut Lab" or "Radium One" tabs -- choose to sort them from least earnings to most.  They are usually just one or two points.  Go thru the links and click thru slideshow or scroll thru article as instructed to earn.
      • Earnings:  usually one or two.  
      • Time:  10 seconds or more depending on length.  Plus the time to find them.
    • Watch Sponsored Videos
      • These are found on the homepage and the various links on the discover page as noted above.
      • Earnings:  usually one to two.    
      • Time:  usually 30 seconds
    • Encrave -- Daily Crave [click thru articles]
    • I cannot currently get on this -- I have read of many people having issues with it on laptops.  But from what I remember you click and let the page load and there is a countdown clock, then you click next, there are ten pages I think in each set.
    • Earnings:  2 per 10 articles (if I remember correctly)
    • Find "Daily Crave" link in left side bar on Swagbucks homepage.   
    • Time:  I think each page stays up for 30 seconds, but I can't remember for sure.
  • Total Earnings Possible for Category #4 varies greatly depending on time spent.  The items with countdown clocks or videos are good to have playing while you are working on something else.
If you haven’t signed up for Swagbucks yet and you sign up thru the links in this post Sarah will earn when you earn.  These are her referral links and anyone who signs up under her account she will earn 10% of what they earn (on most activities).  Together we can fill more shoeboxes for kids in need.  I will share more ways to earn free gift cards thru Swagbucks in later posts.

Check out the other posts in the How to Earn Free Gift Cards at Swagbucks series:

Swagbucks 101 Part One ~ Daily and Quick & Free:  Daily Poll, Daily Offers (NOSO), SB Inbox Offers & Searching
Swagbucks 101 Part Two ~ Free, Easy & Semi-quick:  Play Free Games, Print & Use Coupons, Do Your Regular Online Shopping thru SB Links, Swag Codes, Sign Up for Free Offers & Download Daily Apps
Swagbucks 101 Part Three ~ Free and Easy but a little more time:  Surveys, Click thru Slide Show Offers, Watch Sponsored Videos & Encrave -- Daily Crave [click thru articles]
Swagbucks 101 Part Four ~ Passive & Free:  Mobile Watch, Watch Video Series Online & Referrals
Swagbucks 101 Part Five ~ Advanced with Costs:  Do Pay Offers, Pay to Play Games & Buy Gift Cards

Find all the posts in the Swagbucks 101 series by clicking this image:

Happy Packing!  ~ Cheryl

Disclosure: Links in this post are Sarah's personal Swagbucks referral links.
Disclosure: Links on Simply Shoe Boxes may be affiliate partners or referrals.